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Thread: TA cranks

  1. #1
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    TA cranks

    Last summer I picked up a tandem on craigslist. The good news is that my SO enjoys riding it with me, and that it fits reasonably well. The good news in respect to the tandem is that it only cost me $150, plus changes I've made, mostly with parts I had around. The not so good news is that it's a 1976 LeJeune.
    Good:
    I've replaced the 650B wheels with 700c wheels with DT TD hubs, Hed (of course) C2 rims (32 hole), and brakes to accommodate the rim change.
    The rear derailler was replaced by the previous owner and is now a mid line Shimano MTB derailler. It's shifting the 9sp cassette I put on the back just fine via bar con shifters I installed.


    Not as good:
    I'm assuming that the bottom bracket is French or Swiss threaded but seeing as it's reasonably smooth right now I don't feel the need to take it apart and find out. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do when the stoker BB wears out as I don't want to spend the $$ on a Phil BB.
    The part that is concerning me more than the BB however is the TA Cyclotouriste cranks. Both the timing rings and triple crank are in good condition at the moment but, it seems that there aren't a lot of rings for that crank about anymore. At the same time, it seems that nobody wants them, so it isn't worth pulling them now to keep them in their currently good condition. Does anybody have any advice on the cranks other than ride them until they die and then replace them?
    The front brakes (Linear pull) squeal a ton. No amount of toe in, rim cleaning, or pad changing (currently Kool Stop black) seems to fix the issue. I have tried machined aluminum rims as well as ceramic coated Mavic rims.
    The headset (1" threaded) is on its way out, although I have the tools to change that.
    The seat tubes appear to be ovalized rather than round from over tightening. Both chromed steel (1") seatposts show slight pinch marks from being overtightened as well. Despite this obvious over tightening, they still slip. The stoker seat doesn't slip much, but the captain's seat rotates when the stoker pushes harder on one side of the handlebars than the other. If anything makes it difficult to control a bike, it's the seat rotating because it makes it feel like the frame is tilting when it isn't.
    Any suggestions on these issues will be appreciated.

    Unrelated: Seeing as I'm always doing stuff to recumbents, I've decided to try to make an independent coasting setup for the tandem. I'm want to put it in an EBB as the stoker BB is fixed. Easton EBBs look much cheaper than Bushnell, but do they work? Similar to Easton;
    http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=FS3002

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    For slipping seatpost you can create a shim by using a piece from a beer or soft drink can.
    There is also an anti-slip compound made for carbon fiber seatposts that could help.
    TA cranks are great and long-lasting.
    Somebody did a lot of updating on that 70s LeJeune . . . saw one for sale a couple years ago at a bike swap meet and it did have 650B wheels + a supply of tires that went with it.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Consider swapping out the linear pull brakes for cantilevers, older Shimano LX (black) or XT (silver) would probably work fine in Terre Haute / Indy.

    Just use the cranks as is and keep an eye on Ebay / Craigs list for spare chain rings and/or see what Peter White (www.peterwhitecycles.com) has on hand from TA Specialites that might work.
    HarrisCyclery.com and Mt Airy Cycles (www.bike123.com) also seem to have unusual, dust covered NOS components.

    For the seatposts, make some shims out of an aluminum soda can (being careful not to cut your hands on the sharp edges). Leave a tab along the top edge that can be folded over to work as a lip at the top of the seat tube mast and then gease up your posts and slide them with the shims in place. FWIW, the seat tubes on our very $$ Ventana ECdM off-road tandem were reamed out just a scootch too much when it was built and it's been sporting a diet Coke shim from day one. Works like a charm.

    ICS... pass.

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    I did a fair amount of updating on it, although I planned it that way and it's parts I can take with me. Really what I wanted was a frame and a pair of cranks, everything else I had, with the exception of the wheels, and doing occasional work for Hed nearly solves that issue. The seat posts seem very snug in their tubes, but I'll try the shim anyways, thank you.
    As for chainrings, Peter White did not list the cyclotouriste rings, and Harris Cyclery is listed as being permanently out of rings for that crank (the odd 50.4mm bcd rings). It seems that any place that still has them will want enough for them that it may be worth my while (when it happens) to just replace them.
    I recognize that ICS is completely unnecessary but the engineer in me wants to try it out so please humor me on that one.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    The seat posts seem very snug in their tubes, but I'll try the shim anyways, thank you.
    If they really are snugged-up tight, go with the paste that zonatandem suggests and/or scuff up the portion of the seat post that sits in the mast. The pastes are marketed by FSA as Assembly Paste, by Tacx as Dynamic Paste and there are probably others. It's an orange lube with small plastic bits in it that give some 'bite' on carbon to carbon or other material interfaces. FSA's seems to be a bit more aggressive and a lot more expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    I recognize that ICS is completely unnecessary but the engineer in me wants to try it out so please humor me on that one.
    pass... as in I don't have a clue what to advise here. No direct experience.

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    I did a fair amount of updating on it, although I planned it that way and it's parts I can take with me. Really what I wanted was a frame and a pair of cranks, everything else I had, with the exception of the wheels, and doing occasional work for Hed nearly solves that issue. The seat posts seem very snug in their tubes, but I'll try the shim anyways, thank you.
    As for chainrings, Peter White did not list the cyclotouriste rings, and Harris Cyclery is listed as being permanently out of rings for that crank (the odd 50.4mm bcd rings). It seems that any place that still has them will want enough for them that it may be worth my while (when it happens) to just replace them.
    I recognize that ICS is completely unnecessary but the engineer in me wants to try it out so please humor me on that one.

    Did you try Velo Orange for the rings?

  7. #7
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    I'm assuming that the bottom bracket is French
    Probably French .. 35 X 1, both cups right-hand thread. The cup should be stamped on the outside so all you'd have to do is pull a crank arm to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    The front brakes (Linear pull) squeal a ton. No amount of toe in, rim cleaning, or pad changing (currently Kool Stop black) seems to fix the issue.
    A brake stiffener solved our similar problem. 35+ years of adjusting brakes, and this one I just couldn't get to shut up until I used the stiffener.

    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    Both chromed steel (1") seatposts show slight pinch marks from being overtightened as well. Despite this obvious over tightening, they still slip.
    Ho boy. The French often, (but not always!), used a 26.4 post, and 1" is 25.4. So ... here's my best guess, as we used to see this happen all the time. Guy buys a French bike second hand. Tries to raise or lower the seat, but the original mechanic/assembler/owner didn't believe in grease, so it's stuck. Seat post(s) are destroyed in the process of getting them out, so he stops by the LBS to get another. LBS, (circa 1976), is a Schwinn or JC Higgins dealer and knows nothing about French bikes, so sells him 1" posts. Guy takes it home, sticks it in, tightens it up real snug, but it slips. Sometimes the gap in the seat cluster is touching, so he files that out a tad and tightens some more. Now he's actually crimping the post, but it still won't hold!

    The reason is the post is too small, and is ONLY making contact with, and being held by, the seat cluster at the very top.

    A quick test is to take the seatpost bolt out, and see if the gap in the back of the seat cluster is even. If it's dramatically closer at the top than it is at the bottom, (or if it looks like it's been filed out up top), then you're probably running the wrong size post.

    If that's what you see, then get that Craftsman screwdriver out that you usually use when a pry bar isn't handy, and gently pry/drive it down into the gap until it's roughly even again. Now try your steel seatposts and see how they fit. You'll usually find they are loose all the way down ... in other words, under-sized.

    As to the correct size if this turns out to be the case, please don't take my word for the 26.4. Once the seat cluster gap is back to correct, take it to a bike shop and have them check it.

    LeJeunes were sweet bikes for the money in their day. Have fun with it!

    P.S. I just love it when someone asks questions from back when my brain was young!
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  8. #8
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    I did not try Velo Orange, thank you. I just looked at their page and they do have them. However, at $90 for the outer ring, and a combined $99 for the other two. I could buy a 9sp 105 bottom bracket and crank (double) new from Nashbar for the price of just the outer ring. While the life of the Shimano rings would likely be shorter, they would probably shift better and would be much cheaper to replace.
    That would bring up the complication of the stoker bottom bracket threading, I have not yet decided what I want to do about that. While I could braze in a new bottom bracket that's a mess I'd just as soon not get myself into. I may be able to bore it and then braze in a sleeve, but that also seems to be a bit of a pain.

    TandemGeek, sorry about the misunderstanding. I thought you were telling me to pass on the idea.

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    I should add that I am using linear pull brakes rather than the Mafac canti brakes that were on it when I got it because the swap from 650b to 700c moved the brake track out 19mm. I'll go pull the seatpost now and check that. It would be really great if the seatposts were 26.4 because I have one or two of those laying around from a mix up in the other direction a while ago.

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    Sadly it appears that it may actually be 25.4mm, and the posts were just over clamped enough to ovalize. I'll have to put a feeler down the tube and see what diameter it is lower because the top where I was measuring appears to be poorly manufactured. When the seat post clamps were brazed on it looks like some braze ended up inside the seat tube, and was never removed. As a result, that section clamps down first rather than evenly clamping on the post. If there is 0.5mm of it on each side of the tube, which would make it a 26.4 post. The 25.4 post however is fairly snug. I'll post back when I get some more info.

  11. #11
    rhm
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    On your cranks, note you can also use Lambert/Viscount crank chain rings, which were TA clones. Quality isn't quite up to TA standards, but if you can find them, they should be cheap (unlike these, which are crazy overpriced). I had two complete sets for years, just gave them away a few months ago.

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    I really like TA cranks. Very well made, and were standard on many top-end bikes (second only to the stronglight 49d's). Although the rings aren't that common, a lot of TA cranks were made and I've managed to acquire a pile of decent rings locally (older bikeshops, garage sales, and such). Plus you may never have to replace the rings if you replace your chain regularly (which you should anyways).

    You say the bike has linear pull brakes. Does this mean you installed some sort of v-brake on the 650b-wheel-diameter canti posts? The only ones I can think of that would have enough adjustment for that are the Pauls, some of the old Avids, and some cheapo bmx models. Check for play in the pivots. Some brakes are poorly made or worn, are too loose on the posts, and its pretty much impossible to eliminate squealing. Likewise, too much flex can also be a problem (and this would be worse for you if the brake has to reach from the 650b-place-studs to the 700c rim). Maybe try some sort of brake booster.

    So I'd say keep the cranks, and beef up the brakes. If you do replace the cranks, I might be interested in buying your take-offs. TA's are neat. And if you still have those 650b wheels...I might be interested in those too (the perfect size for tandem wheels imho....I really wish my new(used) bilenky was 650b.)

    -Ben

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    Zetatios,
    I'm likely to get rid of the 650B wheels although I'm pretty sure they are stock from a while ago. I was keeping them because they were the only wheels I had that took an Arai drum but, my new DT rear hub is Arai threaded so I now have no use for them. I'll have to look but I think they are 48 spoke, and I have a new spare tire. They are arai threaded but I will be keeping the arai brake. I'll take some pictures of the TA cranks for you, if I can find a pair acceptable of cranks (I can get stuff at cost) for what you offer me for the cranks and wheels, I think it would work well for me as well.

    Drop me a PM with an e-mail for pictures.

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    rhm
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    I dunno, man. I think you should keep all the original parts. One day someone (and it might be you) will want to put that bike back in its 1976 condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    I dunno, man. I think you should keep all the original parts. One day someone (and it might be you) will want to put that bike back in its 1976 condition.
    I suppose that is a point to consider. I looked at it as a not terribly well designed 40 lb bike that's 32 years old and has suicide shifters rather than a period specific piece. Are there really that many people out there interested in that specific a bike? Also to note is that while it is painted red, it has a ton of chips. On a sad note, it turned out my spare seatpost was 27.8 not 27.4mm so I haven't tried that yet.

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